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Oprah Winfrey Announces Departure from Weight Watchers Board

Oprah Winfrey has revealed her decision to step down from the board of Weight Watchers, a move that adds to the challenges facing the company in the competitive weight-loss market. Serving on the board since 2015, the celebrity stated that she will not seek re-election at the upcoming shareholder meeting in May. The company’s shares experienced a 27% decline in after-hours trading in New York.

Oprah Winfrey, who recently acknowledged using weight-loss drugs, plans to continue collaborating with Weight Watchers to address obesity as a chronic condition. Additionally, she intends to donate her shares to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. As one of the major shareholders, holding around a 10% stake, her departure raises questions about the company’s future strategies.

Oprah Winfrey, who began her association with Weight Watchers nearly a decade ago, is leaving the company’s board, signaling a notable development for the weight-loss industry grappling with the emergence of anti-obesity drugs like Wegovy and Ozempic. Initially, Winfrey joined the Weight Watchers program, openly sharing her weight-loss journey with fellow members and discussing her personal struggles with weight. Her departure aligns with the company’s recent financial challenges, as it reported a net loss of $88.1 million (£69.6 million) for the last quarter of 2023, more than double the losses from the same period the previous year.

Weight Watchers also disclosed its acquisition of digital health firm Sequence in March 2023, citing it as a logical progression in light of advancements in chronic weight management medications. Sequence, a weight loss program, provides various services to subscribers, including guidance from fitness coaches and dietitians, along with the ability to prescribe drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy.

Weight Watchers CEO Sima Sistani highlighted the $132 million deal as an opportunity for members to leverage both the company’s approach to “nutrition and behavior-change” and prescription medications.


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